Our darling Rosie the rescue cat died on the weekend.
We had only been settled into a holiday shack in Sawtell for a day when I received the news. The kids and I are heartbroken and to not have been there when she passed away has been a hard thing to accept. We don't know exactly what happened but it seems an aneurysm took her. Either way, there doesn't seem to be much I could've done for her had I been here. But still :(
We only had Rosie for a year and a half. Falling in love with her gorgeous tabby face in a photo posted by our vet I was as good as gone. I was still mourning the loss of my best mate Basko at the time so another dog was a bridge too far and to be honest I wasn't actively looking for any pet. Her elderly owner had died and Rosie was homeless at a mature 11 years old. As is tradition in our family, all our pets are rescue pets, and all have found us - never been sought out, and it felt like a win-win to take this old girl on in her golden years.
I swear I spent the first 6 months of her time with us telling her she was going back to the vets. I wish I was exaggerating! She took a long hot minute to settle in here that is for sure and despite the kids being super gentle and kind she would hiss and scratch at them. Bella in particular as she loved on Rosie sooo so much. Dare I mention too that she peed anywhere but the litter trays. Did. My. Head. In.
For someone who keeps an immaculate house it wasn't the easiest of transitions. And my beloved vintage kilim rugs had to go into storage lest they met with her weeing ways! Fortunately for Rosie though, every time I said she was going back, and the few times among those that I truly meant it (she doesn't know how close she came!) I would start to cry at the thought. We loved her already. A lot. So she stayed, she hissed, she peed, we loved her up, we tried this, we tried that, we loved her up some more.
Eventually, Madame Rosie relaxed into her place in the family and she became the perfect pet. Here are few fun facts about our girl and a few of the reasons why she is already missed so much:
- She had this adorable inability to meow properly. If it came out at all it was more of a squeak. She did have one other kind of meow. A deep and resonant moaning cry of sorts. She used this when we were in one room and she was in another and she demanded we show ourselves immediately as she was ‘lonely’.
- I keep hearing her call out and half expect her to jump up at the kitchen window sill at dinner time scaring the bejeezus out of me, like every damn day. If she was still outside at dinner time she would do this, hop up on the sill without notice and give me a coronary. But if she could see the kids in the living room first, she would stand up on her back legs and stretch her floppy fluffy tummy up and pad fervently at the galss door with both paws. We would tease the poor girl and not let her in right away as we enjoyed watching her so much. Hilarious and hungry pussy cat. Once inside she would ‘climb the ladder’ of kitchen drawer handles to try and reach her dinner as it was being dished out. She would go from frowny cat to happy, perfect, pretty cat when she wanted her dinner. I have no idea how she did that but damn it was really effective and bloody cute. Once the kids had her bowl in hand she would piss bolt to the laundry after them, paunch flapping from side to side as she ran.
- We have a large planter by the front door. It was once the place where I nurtured a multitude of delicate nasturtium cuttings to maturity. But Rosie decided it was to be hers. She sat in it once, I shooed her off, she sat in it again a few times and I thought shit that’s pretty cute actually and figured the plants would survive her body weight as long as they still got sun and water. But the plants tolerance was overruled by the incessant lazing and Rosie eventually suffocated every last one, thereby winning and claiming the planter. I will miss stroking that soft sleepy head as I come and go.
- Every night our Rosie would take turns sleeping on the kids beds. There were always squabbles over her so I would place a blanket on one bed and pop her on it and scratch her back until she padded and settled. This was by far my most favourite habit of hers, that and her settling in my lap at nana nap time. She was fed, calm, sleepy and happy. She had the softest coat ever as we brushed and patted her constantly. She would pad the blanket and push her whiskers exaggeratedly out in front and purr loudly. When the blanket was sufficiently squished and clawed she would tuck into a ball and hang her head so low that you could barely see her little face. Then she would accept more strokes to the head, eyes and nose while drifting into kitty sleep. There is something so utterly soporific about a happy cat. Dogs are rad, they are loyal and fun and attentive. Cats can be aloof and for some, too independent, but by god when they are curled up in blissful peace on your lap or bed not a worry can touch you. None. That is their superpower. Which brings me to my next point…
- Rosie had another superpower. If one of the kids was crying, it wouldn’t matter if Rosie was outside or curled up asleep, she would be by their side in a literal heartbeat. If we were on the move, to get an ice pack or move to get a better cuddle position, she would run alongside and hop up next to whoever was upset and watch and stay close. Basko did not like crying, he would try to escape the situation haha. But Rosie was like a trauma homing pigeon. Rosie to the rescue.
- She was such a pretty girl, large round green eyes set in my favourite kind of coat. Tabbys are irresistibly pretty. She had subtle markings on top but if you were lucky enough to be her family, she would roll vulnerably on her back in the sun and show off her voluptuous old lady paunch - fluffy as a cloud, stripy and, well, delightful.
- Rosie nearly got taken by a python a few days after coming home with us. Out in the backyard we were gardening and heard this soft slither. Looking up Troy and I saw a huge carpet python maybe a metre from Rosie and heading straight for her. She, none the wiser, had her eyes closed laying under a tree. By the time we got to her, the snake was still ignoring us and now less than half a metre from her when we picked her up. Should’ve renamed her ‘Lucky’.
- As nature lovers with a house surrounded by trees and birds and lizards etc, I loved that Rosie would lie in the sun allll day long and do nothing but clean herself and grunt. She happily coexisted with our resident blue tongue lizard and scarcely raised a whisker at passing birds. In the end, Rosie turned out to be the perfect little companion in our home.
We have yet to have our girl back in body. Our neighbours, that I am so lucky to call good friends, joined forces on the day to make sure Rosie was respectfully and temporarily taken care of. We will give her a proper send off this weekend. I think we will bury her in the garden she adored the most and the one she died in. It all seems to make sense. It won't be easy for the kids, or me, but it is part of life I suppose, and it is true that pets offer us a bearable insight into the world of grief and loss. I still remember burying all our childhood cats and dogs. Big memories those ones, but not all sad. I remember lots of tears, I remember lots of heaviness in my heart, but I also remember that unmistakable knowing that we, my brother and my mum and dad, were all in it together. Mostly I remember how we all held each other up and the lessons that my parents tried to impart. I remember that life went on, even though it felt it mightn't for a while, and we loved (and eventually buried) more pets through the years to come.
RIP our Rosie girl. We will miss your hilarious ways.
Your mum x